By Jacqueline Louie
, For the Calgary Herald
Redoing your bathroom? For many people, it’s all about pampering, beauty and a place to retreat.
"People want their bathroom to feel like a spa," says Sherrie Robinson, who helps customers with their design choices at Contemporary Bathrooms Kitchen and Lighting Centre, which specializes in custom vanities.
Bathroom vanities are the focal points for any bathroom décor, and homeowners can enhance the appeal of the bathrooms they’re renovating by bringing their vanities into the modern era.
Popular trends include vanities that look like furniture pieces, as well as floating vanities, which are mounted onto the wall; granite; espresso colours — "very dark and a lot more modern" — light colours for tiles, the chrome or brushed look, vessel sinks, and waterfall faucets.
"People love the waterfall faucets that have the wide lip," Robinson says, pointing to the Aqua Brass Love Me Faucet, which comes in three heights, as an example of a waterfall faucet.
In addition, the biggest concern for homeowners during a renovation is having enough storage, Robinson says.
And remember "it doesn’t have to be extremely trendy," she says. "Keep it simple, with clean lines — you’ll love it for the next 20 years."
When renovating a bathroom, people are after a feeling that is warm and inviting. They want a room that is more than strictly utilitarian, says interior designer Nyla Free, of Nyla Free Designs.
"Fixtures and fittings are also becoming so much more esthetically pleasing, so you’re able to achieve a beautiful, warm, inviting bathroom with a mix of materials, shapes and textures," she says. "The new traditional is a mix of old and new; modern and traditional — a modern take on traditional elements."
One need only look at the vanity itself, says Free, to see traditional-style legs complemented with modern hardware, faucet and countertop.
Furniture pieces are popular when it comes to a vanity, Free says — everything from custom-designed pieces to stock cabinets, to retrofitting furniture, such as a chest dresser. And part of creating the right ambience in the bathroom is the attention given to other details, such as lighting, backsplashes and mirrors.
"People aren’t just having a mirror stuck on the wall any more," says Free. "You not only see custom mirrors in custom homes, but even in starter homes and builder grade homes — people want mirrors that are more of a decorative element than a fixture.
In terms of fixtures and fittings, over-the-vanity lighting is really becoming popular, Free adds. It’s more than just basic functional lighting — it could be pieces that hang down or are cut out from the wall, which adds more dimensions and more layers. For sinks, she is seeing more undermount sinks or topmount sinks.
"The bathroom is becoming much more of a decorative place than in the past. People are really kicking things up a notch. They are infusing unexpected elements."
This trend is evident in the use of wallpaper in a non-traditional environment like the loo, she adds.
"There is no reason why you couldn’t see wallpaper in a bathroom, as well," says Free.
When renovating a bathroom, Free recommends making sure you have the functional aspects taken care of, first and foremost.
"And don’t be afraid to have fun," she says. "I do think that if you want a ‘wow’ factor, then having a great contractor, and even hiring an interior designer for a couple of hours, will set you in right direction. It is money well spent."
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